What’s the big frackin’ problem with natural gas extraction? The technique involves injecting highly pressurized sand, water and chemicals into underground wells so that shale formations can be fractured. When this process is successful, natural gas molecules are released (which are then harvested for our energy usage), but the unfortunate side effect comes in the form of toxic fluids that are brought to the surface.
Such “biogenic” compounds create a vast array of environmental problems, many of which were detailed in Josh Fox’s Sundance-premiered documentary, Gasland . For those who haven’t seen his critically acclaimed film, imagine being able to light your tap water on fire, suffering from mysterious ailments or witnessing your cattle dying after drinking directly from streams located in hydraulically fractured areas.
For residents of New York State’s Sullivan County, this is a very real concern so it’s nice to learn that Shutter Island’s Mark Ruffalo and musician Pete Seeger added their voices to an anti-fracking protest at the State Capitol. A bill designed to halt this environmentally damaging natural gas extraction process for a period of 11 months has been in limbo, so activists pled their case despite senators being MIA.
Currently a resident of the area, Ruffalo urged lawmakers to “Stand up” and “Get off (their) butts and lead” as he held up a container of filthy water obtained from a hydro-fracking-affected well. Seeger took a more melodic approach by singing a specially penned tune “And when ‘drill baby drill’ turns to ‘spill baby bill’ – God’s counting on me.” As it just so happens, we even have footage of the event!